Friday, January 8, 2010

2010-2011 Governor's Budget Analysis: Corrections and Rehabilitation

The recent 2010-2011 budget proposal from the Governor's office makes some meaningful changes to the correctional budget, which merit some discussion. The proposal aims at reducing the General Fund expenditures on corrections by $1.19 billion, or 12.7 percent.

The proposal identifies three main cost drivers. The first, which comes as no surprise to those following Gov. Schwarzenegger's relationship with the CCPOA, is correctional officer salaries, which the proposal states to be "33 percent higher than the average salary for comparable positions in other jurisdictions". This does not bode well for CCPOA, and their already shaky relationship with the Governor might become shakier.

The second source of costs is identified as "court-driven": Court orders, primarily those associated with medical treatment for inmates, are said to have increased the expenditure per inmate. As an example, "California’s average annual medical inmate cost is approximately $11,000 per inmate, as compared to approximately $5,757 for New York, which has similar inmate demographics."

The proposal points to parole-related costs as the third source. These are expenditures incurred by changes in parolee population, as well as "payments to local jurisdictions that temporarily house inmates on behalf of the state"; in other words, the collateral damage from solutions to overcrowding.

The proposal identifies several changes in the correctional budget:

  • A rather small decrease in inmate and parolee population;
  • A decrease in expenditures on juvenile programs, stemming from the closure of several institutions, accompanied by a very small decrease in population;
  • An increase to the Receiver's budget, devoted to hiring nursing personnel and establishing a proper system of medical records;
  • Parole reform.

The proposal repeats some of the previous measures recommended by the governor for reducing the prison population, such as using GPS monitoring as an alternative to incarceration, enhancing the usage of good time credits, shifting some inmates to serve sentences in local facilities, more intermediate sanctions for parole violators, and less expenditures by the Receivership on medical care. The proposal also calls for reimbursement from the feds for housing undocumented immigrants in state prisons.

The full proposal can be accessed here.


Anonymous said...

I haven't seen a good explanation in the media about the cutting of funding for CA's prison health care service when the three FEDERAL judges are demanding increased health care services for inmates.

The legislature cuts the funding as if the Federal Judges are going to allow that?

I don't understand.

Hadar Aviram said...

The disconnect between the gubernatorial/legislative channel and the judicial channel in all this has been very frustrating. It's understandable, however, that since the state is in a process of appealing the judicial order, the state process for confronting overcrowding has to ignore the fact that the panel order is looming large above all of this.

Stephanie said...

I think all of this is a good idea. The gps sounds good. You have to untersatnd your putting alot of people in a place thats ment for only so meny. You need programs or those guys are going to go ster crazy. Ya know My dads in folsom hes been there a long time and i see the storys on tv and hear about the scare is what he says goes on there.